Conversation, Beads that Speak: Learning the Language of South African Beadwork

Bag (Ingxowa), probably South Sotho, Drakensberg region, South Africa, 19th century. Beads, cloth, string, and metal. Yale University Art Gallery, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund


Hlengiwe Dube with James Green and Roksana Filipowska
Thursday, April 15, 2021, 12:30 pm

The Yale University Art Gallery has recently acquired an important collection of beadwork from South Africa. Beadwork has been a core element of personal decoration in this region since the 16th century, when traders from present-day Maputo, Mozambique, first began visiting the communities now known as Nguni (Ndebele, Swati, Xhosa, Zulu) and Sotho. The 93 items of dress and adornment that make up the collection were created between 1850 and 1910, a period when a massive influx of glass beads from Europe inspired a generation of female artists to develop innovative techniques and designs. Hlengiwe Dube, a beadwork artist and a specialist in traditional South African beadwork, guides a session in close looking via Zoom from her home in South Africa. The session is introduced by James Green, the Frances and Benjamin Benenson Foundation Assistant Curator of African Art, and facilitated by Roksana Filipowska, Wurtele Study Center Programs and Outreach Manager. A high-resolution document camera provides an intimate look at the construction of the objects. Generously sponsored by the Martin A. Ryerson Lectureship Fund.

Closed captions will be available in English.

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Open to:
General Public


15 Apr 2021


12:30 pm

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  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: 15 Apr 2021
  • Time: 12:30 pm

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